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News Summary

Legislature gears up for tobacco wars

Publication Date: 1/21/2007
  • Author:Julie Goodman
  • Publication:Hattiesburg (MS) American

One bill bans smoking in restaurants statewide but includes so many exemptions that health advocates have not backed it. The bill to change how smokeless tobacco is taxed - from price to weight-based - is supported by the U.S. Smokeless Tobacco Co., but shunned by its competitors.

This year is the first time the smokeless tobacco bill has been brought up for a hearing, and its lobbyists fear, if they don't catch on to the momentum now, they'll lose their opportunity. "Whatever the bill is, we want to make sure we're in it," said Robert Shepherd, a Fort Lauderdale-based tax expert who testified before Watson's committee.